Physical and Motor Skills

wheelchair-1249819_640On iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod)

If using a keyboard, mouse, trackpad or touchscreen are challenging for you, the following features may be useful.

  • Switch control, now on iOS10 with platform switching so you can control your Mac or Apple TV using your mobile device.  A range of bluetooth switches are available which are compatible with iOS devices. Contact us to discuss the options.
  • Assistive Touch lets you match up gestures which are easy for you with the apps and commands you use most often…and makes them easy to locate
  • Touch accommodations allow you to control how long you touch your screen before the touch is recognised and/or whether repeat touches are ignored
  • Siri acts as your personal assistant – locating, opening, sending….anything you want her to do..without you having to touch the screen
  • Keyboard shortcuts – set up a shortcut for your commonly typed phrases, e.g. “hn” for “home now” and save unnecessary typing
  • Third party digital keyboard support – iOS lets you install a keyboard which suits your needs, e.g. one which lets you swipe rather than type
  • Third party physical keyboard support – on a physical keyboard, Sticky Keys allows you to press one key at a time instead of having to pressing them together. Slow Keys lets you adjust the amount of time between when a key is pressed and when it is recognised
  • Dictation – speak anything instead of typing in just about any app.  There are commands for punctuation and formatting too
  • Predictive text reduces typing by making suggestions about what you might like to type next

Mac OS

  • Switch control with platform switching -a range of switches and joysticks are available which are compatible with MacBook and iMac or you can use the trackpad or space bar as a single tap option. Contact us to discuss the options.
  • Dwell control – there is now an option for those who use eye gaze or head movements  to operate the cursor to select or drag
  • Siri acts as your personal assistant – locating, opening, sending….anything you want her to do..without you having to touch the screen
  • Slow keys – lets you adjust the amount of time between when a key is pressed and when it is recognised
  • Sticky keys – allows you to press one key at a time instead of having to pressing them together
  • Dictation – speak anything instead of typing in just about any app.  There are commands for punctuation and formatting too
  • Mouse keys – lets you use the number keys as the mouse button and to move around the screen,  drag and drop
  • Onscreen keyboard – for those who use a pointing device to select items on the screen

Accessories, apps and supports

In addition there is a huge range of options, accessories and apps, e.g. switches, switch interfaces, mounts and stands, mouse alternatives, styluses, apps for communication.

You could consider installing a Ring Doorbell and a Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock combination? The Ring Doorbell will allow you to speak with or view on your iPhone or iPad whoever is at your door so you can decide whether you want to open the door.  Then you can open the door remotely using the Kevo Smart Lock app or fob without having to use keys and locks.

Using a speech generating communication app with an iPad or iPhone is a much more more economical option than a dedicated speech generating device.  In addition it’s a mainstream device which looks less obvious when you’re out and about and it can do a lot more things for you – email, social media, music, books, web searching etc. etc. Click here for a curated list of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) apps which are:

  • iPad and/or iPhone compatible
  • earned 3 stars on Jane Farrell’s excellent directory
  • suited to an Australian context

See our post about using a Mac for eye gaze here.  The clip below shows a trial of an Eye Tribe tracking camera with MacOS Sierra.

A downside can be that iPad or iPhone speakers were not built with the purpose of generating speech so you might want to add a powerful and rugged speaker that can go everywhere you go  including to the beach and in the shower.  Check out our range of Braven speakers.

And you don’t want your iPad battery going flat when you’re away from home so a powerbank which will recharge your device quickly will give you peace of mind.  We recommend Braven and Swiss Mobility.

There’s no one size fits all solution and the options can be quite daunting.  Contact us to arrange a consultation so we can make some recommendations based on your particular goals and abilities.